Picture this; you are driving on a hot summer day, and you turn on the car’s ac only to witness it blow hot air on your face. You allow it a few minutes to settle down. But, to no avail. You wonder why the temperature inside the car is still hot. The chances are that your car needs a Freon refill. For those who don’t know what Freon is, we won’t give you a dictionary explanation because it will obviously confuse the heck out of you.
To explain in simple words; Freon is a substance that your car’s AC unit needs to keep blowing cool air. Basically, it’s a specialized gas/refrigerant that absorbs all the heat from the car’s air conditioning unit and produces cooler air in the process. When the AC leaks, it loses Freon. As a result, your air conditioning unit stops producing cool air.
What’s also worth pointing out is that Freon is a very harmful gas. So, you have to replace the Freon not just to receive cool air, but to be good to the ozone layer as well.
How Much Does it Cost to Replace the Freon?
Most garages would charge $150 to $300 for Freon replacement, depending on the labor charges and the amount of refrigerant needed for replacement. The Freon itself would cost almost half the quoted amount, which would be anywhere between $50 to $150.
|Walmart||$50 – $150
|NAPA||$180 – $280
|Mr Tire||$190 – $290
|Midas||$150 – $250
|Your Mechanic||$200– $300
The good news is that you don’t have to refill Freon every few years, or once your car has crossed a certain number of miles. Freon replacement is not needed unless there’s a leak somewhere in your AC’s unit. If your air conditioning is functioning well, it’s a sign that there’s no leak.
On the other hand, if the AC isn’t blowing cold air or has stopped blowing cold air, it may be an indication for a refrigerant refill. Most mechanics charge around $25 to $50 to check whether or not your cooling system is working. Of course, they will waive off the diagnostic fee if you let them treat the car.
Signs of Freon Recharge:
How do you know when Freon needs to be added? Without any ado, let’s get this information to you.
Blowing Hot Air: When your car starts blowing hot air, it would be an indication that the car’s AC is running low on Freon. As hinted earlier, if the amount of Freon drops too low, it starts affecting the AC’s performance.
Clutch Not Engaging: You will hear a clicking sound of the clutch when you turn the car’s key. Since the clutch operates by reading Freon levels, it won’t engage properly when the car is running low on Freon.
Visible Leaks: This would be a more severe symptom, where you will notice visible refrigerant leaks. You can tell that it’s Freon by looking at the greasy thin liquid. As expected, the loss of refrigerant will cause the AC to not function well.
Freon Replacement Steps Explained:
Once you bring your car to an auto repair shop, the car technician will check for possible leaks. If any leak is detected, he will work on fixing the leak before filling the fresh refrigerant. As such, a car technician will follow the following process during Freon replacement.
- He will begin by attaching a refrigerant dispenser to the Freon can.
- He will turn off the car’s engine and set the AC to the maximum coldness level.
- At this point, he will inspect the pulley on the compressor to see if it’s working as intended.
- Then, he will unscrew the refrigerant fill port and attach the dispenser.
- This will allow the car technician to gradually refill the Freon in the car’s AC unit.
Once the job is done, the mechanic will check whether or not the cabin turns cool when the AC is turned on. If it’s not cooling, then he will have to reevaluate everything. Sometimes, additional steps may be needed, or some components may be changed to fix the issue, which would obviously require more time than usual.
Why Shouldn’t you Replace the Freon by Yourself?
The main reason why you shouldn’t consider replacing the Freon by yourself is because it’s health hazardous. If you don’t handle this substance properly, you might experience eye or ear irritation. Worse yet, it can cause you headache, cough, feeling of nausea, vomiting, and dizziness.
Not to mention that you can also get burn marks on your skin due to it. Furthermore, replacing the Freon without any valid license to carry out the procedure is illegal in many states because of the health risks involved. Keep in mind that you might also be causing environmental damage because Freon has the ability to cause ozone layer depletion.
Mechanics usually wear long-sleeved shirts and protective glasses to protect themselves from this harmful substance. Basically, a lot of care goes into the process. So, only a person who is certified to handle cooling systems that use Freon should consider a repair of this nature in a highly controlled environment.
How to Save Money on Freon Replacement Cost?
AC systems manufactured after 2003 run on a safer refrigerant as opposed to Freon. In other words, Freon-based air conditioning units are phasing out with passing years. This also means that it has gotten a bit expensive over the years. Auto care owners usually keep a good profit margin on it, stating that it’s difficult to procure these days.
To save some money, you can shop for it on your own from online websites. If you visit a wholesale website, you can order in bulk and save more money. The idea is to save money on the parts, but not on the labor because of how risky it is to perform the job.